Interview With Lily McGovern, DMIL Chair 09/30/2014

1. How did you get involved in military librarianship?

I was a military wife and knew there were libraries on all military posts so it seemed a good fit to work in a system that would give me job opportunities wherever we live. I also knew that as a federal employee I could more easily apply for jobs in other government agencies to increase chances for a job as moved from place to place.lily

2. How did you get involved in DMIL?

Military Libraries Workshop. It showed me that this organization is focused on military libraries, a good means of keeping up with what is happening and networking with military focused librarians. My boss suggested I attend it and I was so impressed that I joined SLA and MLD (as it was known then).

3. What has been your best experience working for the military?

The best experiences for me as a reference librarian are when someone comes to me saying I need this bit of information and I’ve tried but haven’t found it or I don’t know where to start. I find great satisfaction in teaching this person better skills for finding information relevant to their needs. In some instances I feel like a champ for finding that answer that calls on all my professional knowledge and use of many resources including subject experts. When I find that information the seeker couldn’t possible have found on their own it’s great. Having a general officer tell you thanks for the facts he used in a well received speech or being acknowledged by an author in a military book make my list of bests.

4. What has been your best experience being involved in DMIL?

I don’t have a single experience but rather experiences involving new librarians who may not have ever known there are military libraries. Some have sought out DMIL activities at SLA conferences or local events to get advice on applying for jobs with military libraries. Some come to sessions of interest and discover DMIL sponsored the program. I’ve also met LIS students when I’ve participated in career events to expose students to job opportunities. I’m impressed with the new members of our profession and happy to see them apply their talents and energy to move our libraries forward. They are the future of our profession.

5. What do you want DMIL to accomplish while you are DMIL Chair?

I would like our division to look realistically at our membership, our budget and programming to determine a sustainable path forward. If membership is down and attendance at MLTW and SLA annual are down, what do we need to do to provide value to our members? Where should we invest our time and efforts to ensure our division is meeting the needs of our members? I believe virtual programs need to be offered in conjunction or in addition to programs as we currently provide them. We need to figure out the best means that will be accessible to our members. We can survey our members on this but my gut instinct is that we need to address the military libraries training needs that aren’t met by educational institutions or other organizations.